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Metal Mouth

Metal Mouth

August 31, 2007

On Wednesday I took my oldest son to the orthodontist where I signed away all my vital organs, my blood, and then emptied my pocketbook upside down on the desk. They did allow me to leave with my actual pocketbook and for that I suppose I should be grateful.

I had asked if they would just take my first born as payment, but they declined. As they also declined any and all sexual favors.

He had the spacers put in between his teeth to make room for the actual braces that will go on next week.

He has not stopped complaining.

It is going to be a long 15 months of listening to him. Or a long 18 months if you count how long I will be paying for them. Yes, how is that for a kick. I get to pay for the braces longer than he will be wearing them. Awesome!

But for the rest of his life I get to nag him to brush and floss, “Not only did I GROW YOU in my body from a single cell and give birth to you and your huge head, bidding adieu to bladder control for the rest of my natural life, but I am now poor and missing all my vital organs! You will take care of those teeth. Or I will tear them out of your head and give them to someone more thankful!”

And people think John Edwards is tough. Pshaw.

Posted by Chris @ 10:26 am  

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  1. Jenn says:

    That’s exactly how I feel!!! Were’you lurking around our house this Spring? My 11 year old daughter just got her braces (spacers first). I tell her that if it’s bothering her that much she can call the orthodontist herself. That usually quiets her down.

    I think if we follewed the press everyday the way they follow public figures we’d find some faults of their own!

  2. Mommy M says:

    It’s funny how much children overlook the HUGE sacrifice that is giving up your bladder control…heeheehee

  3. Jenn says:

    Right now I’m kicking myself saying, “Why didn’t you do what you high school English teacher told you and proof-read! Now you really look like an illiterate mother of six!” Good thing my husband isn’t running for president.

  4. Melissa says:

    My friend works for an orthodontist. She told me they had a patient come in to get his braces off his mom dropped him off and he was suppose to ride his bike home (I assume it was close?). On the way home he wrecked his bike and knocked out his front teeth….so sad. She didn’t even get to the final product.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I have a lot of sympathy for your son. My spacers were put in a week before I got my braces, and my mouth just ached the entire week. I was miserable. I could also feel my teeth loosening. It’s the annoyance and pain of getting something like a popcorn shell stuck between your teeth times 1000. What made it seem so bad was that I thought, “If this is how it feels with just the spacers, how bad will it be with braces?”

    The good news is that the braces were actually a relief compared to the spacers. For me, at least.

  6. Crisanne says:

    I agree that the braces were not as bad as the spacers. Until you smile too big and get your cheek stuck in the back wire, leaving you in a permanent, terribly painful smile. Have fun!!

  7. Renae says:

    If my oldest ends up in braces, which is likely, I’m going to regale her with stories of having to have 8 teeth pulled, then FOUR (looong. toooorturous. according to my middle school diary.) YEARS of braces, followed up by 2 years with a retainer. In other words, I’ll tell her, “Suck it up, Princess!” While I sympathize with her and hand her a popsicle.

    The most difficult torture I remember is getting those impressions made, while trying not to choke on the cement-y stuff that felt like it was sliding down my throat. And having the bands pounded on… he never missed with that chisel, but oh man, for anyone else who goes through that, I feel your pain.

  8. Esme says:

    My oldest (13) got braces a couple of months ago, and now my 11-year-old wants them. What’s up with that? Has she not been listening to her older sister complain ad nauseum?

  9. Elizabeth says:

    My 15 yo daughter lost the gene pool raffle and has huge jaw and orthodontic issues. She is in her third set of braces and has additional hardware screwed into her gums and roof of her mouth to move particularly stubborn teeth. And, she will probably still need jaw surgery when she is done. On a recent drive home from the ortho, she started to cry about how unfair this all was, it’s uncomfortable, it’s ugly, it interferes with her speech and with eating, every time we go the news is worse, etc. To earn my good mother award, I exploded with the very sensible comment “Well, what do you think it’s like for ME?!?! I am paying for all of these bills and getting you to all these specialists for years, and I don’t even know if it’s going to work!” Hey, that went over really well. She later came to me - crying again - to sincerely apologize for being so inconsiderate, and it just about killed me. P.S. Stock up on Advil, and have him take it before the appointment. Repeat for all appointments, even if you don’t think they are going to do anything major. Also stock up on orthodontic wax for the first week or so.

  10. Dana says:

    We are going through the same thing here with my 9 year old. She got her spacers last week, and will get her FIRST set of THREE sets of braces next week. Poor child will be in braces for at least 4 1/2 years. Thankfully the other two kids have good straight teeth!

  11. merrymishaps says:

    Well, I didn’t need spacers, but that’s due to the five years of wearing a ‘palate stretcher’ — a retainer that I wore all the time, and widen every couple of days with the turn of a tiny key.

    My promised 18 months of braces turned into two years, so there’s probably a pretty good chance you’ll get to finish paying before he gets them off :)

  12. Tamatha says:

    Oohhh you’re in for good times. My 12 year old daughter just got spacers 2 weeks ago/braces a week ago. I don’t know if she’s stopped complaining or I’m just reallly good and tuning her out now.

  13. ChristieNY says:

    I second the orthodontic wax!

    Holy heck I had to coat my entire traintrack of braces in the stuff to keep it from embedding into my mouth. Especially at night or I’d wake up with an imprint of the braces in my mouth and just like a cheek that you’ve bitten once and continue to bite because it’s a bit swollen? It just kept getting more and more irritated. Wax was definitely my friend to smooth it over and help me get through that. So was advil, owch my teeth are aching just thinking of it. I even used a blender on my food for the first few days because my teeth hurt to even bite into anything they were so loose and wobbley from being shifted. :(

    Sorry about your pocketbook, it’ll be worth it though I’m sure! :)

  14. Denise says:

    Your son may whine but I bet my husband whines more. We just started the braces process with him and he only has his top braces in, one more week till he gets the bottom ones. Wow, he is a lot of work! He whines when I make any food that may get caught in his braces or food that he may need to chew, but he is WAY too hungry to eat tomato soup. Every time he gets a new bigger wire in, I get to hear about how much it hurts all over again.
    Only 13 more months to go! Yea!

  15. Stacy says:

    I am not sure I have ever told you this Chris, but Man I luv you! You are hilarious and I love how you write. You Rock!

  16. MrsFierceShoes says:

    I think it’s funny that you said “pocketbook.” Is that a regional thing? I’ve always said purse but my mom says handbag. Granny used to call it her ditty bag…I have no idea what that is.

    I just LMAO about the comment from Melissa about no getting to see the final product. That’d be my luck…

  17. BetteJo says:

    My Mom had to beg my Dad for braces for me, and ever after even into adulthood I have been conscious of hurting my teeth -
    Maybe a little guilt will go a long way - it did in my case. Not so much as a chip after all these years!

  18. Lori says:

    My 15 yo just had his put on last week, w/spacers too. I ask him if he had been flossing, his reply “well megan (friend) doesnt floss hers” I in turn replied, “well Megan didn’t just put out 4200.00 for them” that evoked a big eyeroll and a whatever.
    sharing your painnnnnnn.

  19. Sage says:

    I’ve also heard that the spacers are much more painful than the actual braces. Maybe there’s hope for less complaining to come…

  20. Cate says:

    Yep, the spacers were awful as were the first two weeks the braces were on and for two days after an adjustment.

    My parents paid for my braces and paid for my college free and clear. I tell them now that since I graduated with no debt and perfect teeth, I will now have the money to put them in a wonderful retirement home. Mom just groans.

  21. Rae says:

    Oh gosh, how are your other kids’ teeth? Wow Chris, sorry about those organs. Bummer.

  22. Mama Bear says:

    Stock up on Advil, whoever said that first is right on. I’m on my second child with braces. The first actually had to have the bottom set redone once, so really, we are on the third. I had 3 months break between paying off Mr 17’s and starting payment on Miss 14’s. Their mouths were too small for their teeth; just found out that Miss 9, her mouth is too big, and she’ll need them too… sigh.
    Do be sure they take Advil BEFORE the appointment, no matter what is going to be done, it really does help.
    And whoever wrote about paying $4200 for braces, you are spoiled! Where do you live so I can move there for ortho care? We have one ortho where we live, and his prices are much higher because he has the market in his pocket.

  23. Lori says:

    Mama Bear,
    I am in Portland, I think it is the land of orthodontists. There is one on every corner. But, my son only needs them for a little bit of an overbite and cosmetic mainly. 12-16 months tops.
    You are right about the ADVIL. I have bought it in bulk from costco! Take it BEFORE. It does help.

  24. peppylady says:

    I’m over from Peggy. I remember braces but my boys are lucky and got the good gene pool when it comes to teeth.

  25. mbbored says:

    Spacers and first getting the braces on really hurt. After that, it was fine, besides for getting things tightened, which only hurts for a day. And for the first month, carry wax with you everywhere.

  26. Karen says:

    Both of mine got braces around the same time (although ds had already had a palate expander placed)….Agreed, advil before, during, and after. The wax–never worked for us well. Always make sure there are NO pinchy areas BEFORE leaving the office–check with fingers and tongue. (not yours, of course!!)

    I will tell you, it will be a long haul, but dd just got her braces off
    Of course, then the endless complaining about the retainer started. ;)

    Ds gets his off in October (but he’ll need another phase….poor boy)

  27. Marie says:

    My 9 year old will be getting his braces in 6 months. I am so dreading it. his will cost $5000. Insurance will cover $1500.

    hope your son gets some releif soon.

  28. kitty says:

    Just to whine as well…
    My daughter now has top and bottom retainers and headgear cost $4500
    After that is all done, then she gets braces…($5000+)
    Being broke, now that is priceless..

  29. Amy says:


    I am coming out of lurkdom to let you know that only my grandmother still uses the term “pocketbook”! LOL!

  30. Jerseygirl89 says:

    Oh my, you’re all making me feel so bad about never wearing my retainers(yes, I had top and bottom ones, you can see why I couldn’t wear them!).

    Note for parents of retainer-wearers and future retainer wearers - do not trust your child when s/he says “Of course I’m wearing them every night!”

    Go in and check.

  31. Katie says:

    SERIOUSLY with the flossing. I had braces for 2 1/2 years as an older teenager and when I got them off and went to the dentist (after brushing 2x a day, but not flossing) I had TEN cavities between my teeth. Braces were nothing compared to the pain of 4 separate appointments for all the fillings.

    As for the cost, you could always go the way my parents did. They threw me down on a treadmill in a sports store and consequently the store paid for all the orthodontia I had (okay, maybe I embellished the situation to make myself look less stupid and uncoordinated, whatever).

  32. Alissa says:

    seriously, don’t stop hounding him about the brushing and the flossing… 3 years of braces…very little brushing/flossing. i blame my laziness on my 15 years later worth of tooth agony/annoyingness…

  33. julie@lovelaughterlaundry says:

    Just started paying for our thrid set of braces. I told the kids we are only eating Top Ramon and Mac n cheese until they are paid off. I don’t really think they were amused.

    Load him up on Motrin and he wont feel the pain any more…and neither will you.

    Have a great weekend!

  34. Karen says:

    Me again….
    I want to add…..NOTHING brushed my kids teeth like a Sonicare. We struggled with regular brushes and the spin brushes, but there was still so much gunk and plaque building up.

    The Sonicare did WONDERS for their oral hygiene. And even now that dd has her braces off, she still uses it. She can’t stand the icky feeling she has after brushing with a manual brush.

    They are expensive (ours were about $99 each) but they are so worth the investment!

  35. Carly says:

    Long time lurker, first time poster.

    Spacers really are the worst part of braces. Unless you require rubberbands. Then rubberbands are the worst - I think I ate KFC mashed potatoes (they require NO chewing) for about a week every time my rubberband setup got changed. But the braces themselves weren’t bad at all. Hold out - there may be hope.

  36. Diatribal says:

    Wow. 15 months sounds so short!!! I had to wear mine for almost THREE YEARS. Yeah. I had really jacked up teeth. My poor daughter may be next. Good luck. You don’t really need those organs anyway, do you?

  37. MamaGeph says:

    I was 29 and got my spacers on right after I found out I was pregnant. So I was nauseous and starving, but even soft bread hurt too much to chew. I lost nine pounds in my fifth month. (Hmmm…maybe I ought to go in for that again.)

    Drinking Boost and smoothies helped. Best of luck!

  38. Karen Vogel says:

    I don’t think I’ve realized until now how lucky we’ve been - the dentist told me that my oldest has a perfect bite (I have an over and my husband has an under, so we must have averaged it out), and so far we’ve managed to avoid orthodontic with the second teenager also. She’s a real complainer, so I’m sure the spacers would have been agony for all of us. Just what I need - a 13-year-old keeping me up with teething pain! So, 2 down and 4 to go and keeping my fingers crossed…

  39. Jackie says:

    One of my 13 year old sons just got braces with an expander, and the complaints are never-ending. I also have a 10 year old daughter in braces [who NEVER complains!!]. Needless to say I feel like I have a second mortgage or something!! 13 year olds twin brother got his off last year, and three months later his two front teeth went right into my 4 year old’s head and chipped off on my neighbor’s trampoline. I was SO less worried about 4 year old’s bleeding head than I was about the two front teeth of the big boy!!! THAT day was one of the biggest bummers EVER since I wasn’t even done paying on them!!

  40. debby says:

    Wait for the real pain of braces — weekly appointments so the orthodontist can turn the screw on the palate expander! I am entrusted with raising members of the human race, but I’m not trusted with a screwdriver for her braces?!?!!?

  41. Carolynn from Western Australia says:

    Hi, I don’t have any children so won’t be going throught the agonies of braces. BUT Dental costs seem to be the same the World over. I am in Australia and the cost of dental procedures here are extremely high. Even if you have top level Health insurance, they only pay about 40% if you are lucky the rest is out of your pocket. I think we must be funding major exotic holidays for these Dentists and Orthodontists.

    Carolynn :)

  42. Ginny says:

    $4200 is about what I paid in suburban Chicago last year. And my lucky son has a ‘jaw issue’ that may or may not (depending on his growth) require his jaw to be broken and re-set–then he’ll need braces again! Supposedly there’s no charge for the second set of braces aspect of it. Signed–No Insurance Here! Good luck, Chris and your various offspring.

  43. TB says:

    Ugggg! I remember getting braces 6 years ago, when I was 34. Oh the pain, especially the 1st week. Yeah, he’ll be complaining……

  44. carrie says:

    And when he gets them off, make sure he does not loose his retainer! Really. Hope his mouth isn’t too sore — obviously if he’s complaining, you could ask the orthodontist to put ‘em on really tight next week!

  45. Janet says:

    Retainer…… Don’t even ask about the time we brought all the Saturday trash home from our local Burger King so we could go through everything looking for my oldest’s retainer!

    Or the time we had to go to school…. find the janitor and go through the trash in his room.

    Or the time I found it down in a chair between the cushion and the arm.

    Or the time by brother in law was sweeping the garage and found the darn retainer!

    Just don’t ask …. It has been 30 years and it still makes me mad!

  46. JEN says:

    I am getting braces next week for the 2nd time (I”m 34). $1500 back in 1986 and $7100 - the 2nd time is a LOT of money but really you are buying him self-esteem. No one wants wonky teeth as an adult so it is really nice of you!

  47. Cheryl says:

    Son had first set of braces put on incorrectly by incompetent dentist (found out after the fact he was NOT an orthodontist as advertised) and then had to have jaw broken and re-set to correct damage. Wired shut for 3 weeks, eating nothing but blender food. Second set of braces and then retainer gave him a fabulous set of teeth!! He will eat nothing out of a blender now - not smoothies, milkshakes - nothing.
    Definitely do the Advil as suggested - it really helps!

  48. terilynn says:

    I have braces now along with 3 of my teenage daughters. We’re just so darned cute


  49. Catherine says:

    I’m 33. My braces were removed 19 years ago. I carry my own dental insurance. And my mom still nags me about my teeth and how much she paid for them.

  50. Sue says:

    Right said…. What a loving and lovable mom!
    But do ask him to be careful because my braces were removed about 10 years back and right after, it started disaligning fast because I refused to wear the so-called retainer brace which was “detachable”!!! Not a total waste of money because I still looks a lot better than before…
    But I’m sure things are much better now than it was 10 years back, and your first born won’t have to wear the retainer I was forced to!!!

  51. qtpies7 says:

    We put our down payment on braces recently. I am beyond thrilled with having to do this. I just can’t tell you. I’ve tried and tried convincing her it would be easier and less painful and cheaper to just have the tooth removed and a fake one put in. (her tooth is completely sideways) But she wants her real tooth. Why would you want to keep something that causes such a pain? Why?
    Oh, and I got FOUR kids sent to the ortho in the same month. There is just no way.

  52. river says:

    qtpies7-if you are suggesting a false tooth on a partial denture plate,do NOT go down that road. My mum did that to me at age 17 because it was the cheapest option and the wearing of that plate ever since has ruined my teeth. I’m 55 now and can’t afford dental work apart from emergency fillings and I have the worst teeth in the world. Several have had to be removed and the rest are about 90% filling per tooth.Ugly grey amalgam fillings. And yes, I did brush every day twice and sometimes three times, removing the plate to do so.

  53. Heather says:

    I wore braces as an adult, just had them removed last year. It is an investment, thats for sure! Me and my daughter wore them at the same time and I still to this day nag her to see if she is wearing her retainers every night! :P

  54. InterstellarLass says:

    I’m putting one in braces and the other needs a special expander before she can even start on braces. I cringe when I think that even my FSA isn’t going to cover the total cost.

  55. Chandra says:

    So the loss of bladder control is permanent??
    He’s two years old but I was still holding on to hope….
    So the “oooopppsss I wet my pants” will continue each and every time I sneeze.

  56. Monique says:

    I spent a small fortune on my daughter’s teeth for braces when she was 17.. she never followed up w/ the retainers..
    I was so disappointed:(

    She’s 31 and a mom of 2 now..~

    I wonder what her future holds..If they will need them at one point..I am sure that will be the time we may bring up the braces again:)
    Funny that I smile at it now..But back then,,I was pretty livid.

  57. Elizabeth says:

    I had to check back to read the rest of the comments. I will see Karen’s Sonicare and raise her one WaterPik. Oops, shouldn’t play poker games on the computer before I read your blog. Really, think of both of these marvelous tools as insurance on your orthodontic investment. Sonicare twice a day, WaterPik after at night, regular brush as needed in between. Or, you know, you could do what your own dental professionals recommend, but wouldn’t you rather take our advice?

  58. Beverly says:

    One down, one to go.

    (And very happy it’s just one to go…)

  59. Lena says:

    Oh please, the way these kids whine….lol

    My son got braces when he was 12 and every time he had his braces tightened or any thing done, he would whine and have to miss school and everything …because of the “pain”

    Well, fast forward…to the end of the line..(my turn to go to get dental work)…I finally get braces for my own crooked buck teeth, at 38 years old….

    Basically, it feels like pressure, kind of like you have a brick sitting on your face, and that’s about the worst of it.

    These kids will play it for all it’s worth. But after 38 years of hideous teeth, a brick is nothing!

    Give ‘em some Tylenol and tell ‘em to suck it up and be glad their parents are not making them wait until old age(and a lifetime of humiliation) to pay for it themselves.lol

    By the way, my son with the $3,200.00 teeth ,had his front tooth broken out TWICE!(the SAME tooth)After i paid for those perfect teeth.

    That will be the kid who does the most dangerous and dumb stuff.The one with the most expensive teeth.

    And Qtpies7 , when I finally got to address my “teeth issues’ I begged them to just ,pull out my front teeth and give me some fake ones that were “straight”

    they said “that would be like sweeping crumbs under the rug.”
    they refused , and made me wear full braces at 38!!
    Naturally ,I cracked up bawling right there on the spot.

  60. Kristen says:

    I was with my mother in Chicago during Blogher and she asked me to wear my retainer because my teeth were shifting.

    15 years later.

  61. MsRebecca says:

    Good luck with that, and 4000k later my daughter’s teeth are shifting and I’m t’od~

  62. RzDrms says:

    oh-emm-gee, i thought you meant the psychic, not the politician. i am slow (and don’t give a cr@p about politics). ::sigh::

  63. lostgirl says:

    At the age of 11, I had 4 teeth pulled in preparation for braces. I then had the joy of 4 painful years of braces, followed by two permanent retainers (top and bottom) and daily wear of a regular retainer. Now in middle age I am left with a cross bite and jaw pain…..the solution to this?…..firstly gum grafting to fix a receding gum line, next comes braces for 12-18 months and then comes the fun part……major jaw surgery complete with intraveneous feeding for the first week post-op due to my jaw being wired tightly shut. And finally……braces again, to properly align everything. Hopefully the end result will be worth it this time……it sure wasn’t the last time.

  64. Jill says:

    As a former brace wearer (while I was pregnant no less) those 15 months he’s scheduled to wear them might just turn into 18 or 20 months. So, at least you might not have to pay longer than he is wearing them!

  65. Matt says:

    I am 25 and I just got my spacers put on yesterday. They don’t really hurt just annoying. I go back in one week to get the braces put on for 2 years :(. All of you talking about braces being around $3,500 are so lucky! Mine are going to cost over $7,000.

  66. DDM says:

    OH I feel your pain. Except the braces are going on ME, and I wrote a check for $2500 and just got it over with in one painful stroke of the pen. And the spacers? SUCK!!! Those darn things HURT! Give him my e-mail, I’ll let him whine! LOL! The bands that went in after the spacers are far less painful than the spacers were.

  67. DDM says:

    Oh. And Matt, I’m 34. :-(

  68. MYLES says:


  69. MYLES says: